T-Mobile CTO: Our 4G Stands Up to LTE Rivals
Speaking at CTIA Tuesday, T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray stressed that the carrier didn't stand still while it waited for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) to acquire it. The best thing it did, he claimed, was upgrade its HSPA+ network to 42 Mbit/s in markets across its footprint. (See T-Mobile USA Bigs Up HSPA+.)
"Our network is extremely competitive today," Ray said. "When you look at the performance of 42 [Mbit/s HSPA+] against LTE, we're doing quite well."
LTE is faster, he admitted, but still faces a host of factors that affect its performance. In particular, Ray called out Verizon Wireless , applauding it for leading the charge to LTE, but noting that only 9 percent of its customer base is on the 4G data network. About half of T-Mobile's customer base uses HSPA or HSPA+, Ray said, adding that he knows it's at least superior to Verizon's CDMA 3G network.
"On a percentage basis, we have a lot of our customers already in a competitive environment," Ray said. "For us, we don't see we have to rush to LTE. We want to get modernization done thoughtfully, carefully with the right amount of work, but we're [in a good position] now.
T-Mobile announced Monday that it'll build out LTE in 2013 with the help of Nokia Networks and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), but it's also using the vendors to continue to upgrade its HSPA+ network. (See NSN, Ericsson Win T-Mobile's LTE Business and T-Mobile Could Still Boost HSPA+ Speeds .)
The reason T-Mobile is moving to LTE isn't just for the speed, Ray said, but for the efficiency it brings. Plus, by the time it's ready for LTE in 2013, the products will be more stable, and there will be new capabilities like carrier aggregation and the Heterogeneous Network (HetNet) available for optimizing the LTE experience, he said.
"LTE is key; performance is one thing, but spectrum efficiency is another," Ray said. "T-Mobile has a great history of rapidly migrating our customer base into new technology, and we'll look to do the same on LTE and make sure our customers are getting the mobile experience and value."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile